Regen Projects presents Live (2014), a seven screen, silent video-installation by New York based artist Glenn Ligon (born 1960). Taking its title and material from the renowned performance “Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip (1982),” Ligon continues a dialogue with the comedian’s work, one that began with a painting series using stenciled Pryor jokes (1994 – 2007). This exhibition marks the artist’s fifth solo exhibition at the gallery.
“I’ve removed the sound from the concert so really you just have the body performing, and Pryor was a very physical comedian. A lot of his comedy involved the body and I was interested in how the body can communicate without sound. How a meaning is conveyed, even though you don’t hear words.” Glenn Ligon, Camden Arts Centre, 2014.
The material in Pryor’s 1982 concert included a frank discussion of his freebasing accident and recovery. It captured a sober and reflective Pryor, at the height of his creative powers and in full mastery of his audience. In this seven channel reworking of the film only a single screen offers a 1:1 scale of Pryor’s full body. The other six screens center on a particular feature of Pryor’s anatomy: his left hand, his right hand, his head, his mouth, his groin, and his shadow. The particular subject on each screen has been cropped and continually occupies the center of its frame but only appears on each screen when that part of the body is visible in the original film, requiring the viewer to constantly move around the installation as the screens flicker off and on.
Regen Projects (West Hollywood) Website